House Cleaning

When to Hire a Housekeeper
by Gabby Hyman

Are you ready to hand your housecleaning duties over to someone else? Housekeeping companies and maid services can take over the entire job, or pinch hit for you during busy times. Some homeowners prefer to engage a housekeeper once a month to take on the heavy chores, while others need someone every week. Search around and you'll find a housekeeping company that best suits your needs--and your household budget.

A housekeeper, whether an independent or employee of a housecleaning company, typically offers a range of services that can cover routine spot-cleaning or giving your house a thorough going-over. Depending on your budget, you can bring in a housecleaner on an hourly basis, for the day, or once a month. Rates vary by the scope and size of your house and the extent of cleaning activities.


Here are some common cleaning tasks associated with each room in the house:
  • Bathroom: sweeping/mopping floors, toilets/sinks/shower/bath cleaned and sanitized, walls, windows, and mirrors cleaned, countertops and cabinets dusted and cleaned, throw rugs cleaned or vacuumed, towels changed, waste baskets emptied.
  • Kitchen: Floors (wood or tiles) swept and mopped, cabinets and drawers wiped down, sinks and appliances (stove, refrigerator, microwave, etc.) cleaned and disinfected, countertops and chopping boards cleaned and sanitized, waste baskets emptied, cabinet paper replaced, lights and fans dusted, dishwasher emptied or dishes put away.
  • Bedrooms: Floors vacuumed or swept, linen changed, windows and sills cleaned, doors and walls spot-cleaned, area rugs shaken out, thorough dusting, waste baskets emptied.
  • Living rooms or Dens: Thorough dusting of all surfaces, windows cleaned, lamps and fans dusted, rugs vacuumed or floors mopped and polished, furniture (dining room tables and chairs) cleaned and waxed, appliances (stereo, TV, home entertainment center) washed and buffed, window shades or slats cleaned.


Housekeeping Essentials and Extras

Be sure to get an itemized list for all the essential house areas and cleaning services when seeking bids from a housekeeper or housecleaning company. You should also ask for a list of charges for so-called "extras." These are services over and beyond those itemized in a routine cleaning contract. They can include stripping floors, polishing furniture, high-item cleaning (hard to reach fixtures, fans, or beams), or carpet cleaning/shampooing. You should also expect additional charges if you want the interiors of washers-dryers, refrigerators, or ovens cleaned. Get everything in writing before you ink a housecleaning contract.

Cost Helper

About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys, GoTo.com, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.

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